Things You'll Need
Large buttons, felt decals, ribbon or other parrot-safe decorations
With their gorgeous plumage, it doesn't seem necessary to dress a parrot. For birds who are feather-pluckers, though, a posh sweater is more than a fashion statement. It prevents parrots from accessing the chest feathers that are most often the subject of their neurotic habit. A sweater will also help a bird with a bare chest hold in body heat. Repurpose the sleeve of an old sweatshirt into a practical parrot sweater. Stitch ribbons, large buttons or decals onto the front to give your compulsive companion a new focus for his fixation.
Measure the length of your parrot's back from the base of his neck to the base of his tail using the tape measure.
Lay the sweatshirt on a flat surface such as the countertop.
Start at the cuff of one sleeve and use the tape measure and marker to mark off the same length as your bird's back. Draw a line with the marker across the width of the sleeve to provide a cutting guide.
Cut the sleeve with the scissors along the cutting guide. Set the sweatshirt aside.
Place the cut sleeve on the countertop with the cuff section farthest from you and the cut edge closest to you.
Measure 1 inch down from where the cuff is sewn to the sleeve on the left side and make a mark with the marker, then make another mark on the left side 2 1/2 inches down from that mark. Make two additional marks on the right side of the sweater using the same process.
Cut a slit to create a hole for your parrot's wing between the two marks on the left side of the sweater using the scissors. Cut another slit on between the two marks on the right side.
Sew large buttons, 2- and 3-inch lengths of ribbon, or felt decals onto the front of your bird's sweater using needle and thread.
If the cuff opening of the sleeve is too large, your parrot will be able to duck his head inside and continue to pluck at his chest feathers. Depending on the size of your bird, a child's sweatshirt may be a better choice to use for making a sweater.
When choosing embellishments to decorate your parrot's sweater, pick big buttons and baubles that are too large for him to swallow. He'll pluck them off his sweater easily enough, but they should be big enough that he won't choke on them.
Only use sew-on decals for a parrot sweater. The iron-on type has a chemical backing that could be toxic to the parrot.
- Ginger Summers; Avian Vet Tech, Alameda Pet Hospital, Pocatello, Idaho
- New York Birds: Feather Destructive Behavior
- African Grey Parrots: African Grey Toys
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.